The Highland Optimist Scott Credit Union Shootout will have an Atlantic Coast Conference flavor to it when the 28th annual event rolls around early next year.
Duke University recruit DJ Steward of Chicago Whitney Young, the consensus No. 1-ranked high school player in Illinois, will be matched against North Carolina-bound Caleb Love of Christian Brothers College Prep (Mo.) in the marquee matchup Jan. 11.
“You’ve got two of the top players in the country, two top 25 nationally-ranked players, they are both 6-3, and they’re going to Duke and North Carolina. Plus you have CamRon Fletcher of Vashon, who is committed to Kentucky, all playing in the last two games of the day,” said shootout organizer Matt Powers. “So the big three all have recruits here.”
The top-ranked junior in the nation, Patrick Baldwin of Milwaukee Sussex High School, also will be there. He’ll tangle with Chaminade’s Luke Kasubke, who has committed to Kansas State.
Fletcher, a 6-7 forward, will lead Vashon against perennial Illinois power Chicago Simeon. The Wolverines have three nationally-ranked players, led by 6-1 guard Ahamad Bynum, who has offers from Illinois, Missouri and Wisconsin.
All in all, the 2020 Highland Optimist Scott Credit Union Shootout will feature 21 nationally-ranked players and the top 10 ranked players from Missouri.
“I’m going to go on the record here and say that this is the best shootout we’ve had from top to bottom,” Powers said.
The shootout will also have a strong metro east presence with Collinsville, led by 6-1 Division I recruit Ray’Sean Taylor, as well as Mater Dei, Triad and both the Highland boys and girls teams competing in the one-day, eight-game event.
The Highland girls team, led by senior Ellie Brown and junior Bella LaPorta, will take on Greenville in the first game of the day beginning at 8:30 a.m and will be followed at 10 a.m. by the Mississippi Valley Conference boys game between Triad and Highland.
Mater Dei, led by 6-5 Purdue Northwest University recruit Caleb Zurliene, will battle Columbia Tolton (Missouri), beginning at 11:30 a.m. Tolton is led by the Porter brothers — 6-5 senior Coban Porter and 6-8 sophomore Jevon Porter.
Collinsville, which could be one of the top teams in Illinois 4A in 2019-20, will take on DeSmet at 1 p.m. DeSmet is led by 6-10 junior Sekou Gassama and 6-9 junior Yaya Keita, two other heralded players in the St. Louis area.
Mehlville, Mo., led by 7-foot senior Davion Bradford, will take on Trinity Catholic (Mo.) at 3 p.m. Trinity is led by 7-foot Creighton University recruit Ryan Kalkbrenner.
Baldwin, a 6-9 guard-forward, who already has offers from Duke, North Carolina, Kansas and Kentucky, will lead Milwaukee Sussex against Chaminade at 4:45 p.m.
The chance to watch Baldwin could be worth the price of admission, Powers said.
“He’s a little like Justin Tatum,’’ Powers said. “Everybody in the country wants him.’’
The last two games will feature Vashon taking on Simeon at 6:30 p.m. and the Whitney Young-CBC matchup at 8:15 p.m.
Powers said tickets will go on sale Sunday, Dec. 1. The ticket prices will be $8 for the first four games, and $15 for the entire event. Full day ticket holders will be given a wrist band so fans can come and go as they please.
Game 1: (Girls) Highland vs. Greenville, 8:30 a.m.
Game 2: Highland vs. Triad, 10 a.m.
Game 3: Columbia, (Mo.) Tolton vs. Mater Dei, 11:30 a.m.
Game 4: St. Louis DeSmet vs. Collinsville, 1 p.m.
Game 5: Mehlville, Mo. vs. Trinity Catholic, (Mo.), 3 p.m.
Game 6: Milwaukee, (Wis..) Sussex vs. St. Louis Chaminade, 4:45 p.m.
Game 7: Chicago Simeon vs. St. Louis Vashon, 6:30 p.m.
Game 8: Chicago Whitney Young vs. St. Louis CBC, 8:15 p.m.